For those of us who live in earthquake prone places, it’s been drilled into our heads what to do when we feel the first signs of the earth moving. If you’re indoors, drop and cover, get under the nearest table or desk, cover your head and stay clear of exterior walls, glass and heavy furniture. If you’re outside, stay clear of buildings, power lines or anything else that could fall on you. And when it’s over, hopefully you have that earthquake kit to provide you with food, water, clothing and medical supplies to hold you over until the power comes back on, help is on the way, and order is restored.
But what happens if you’re not trained to know the early warning signs of an impending disaster? What happens when there are no protocols, or procedures or plans in place to mitigate the potential for danger, destruction, injury and death? And what happens when instead of taking cover, protecting yourself and your loved ones, the early warning signs are ignored, disaster strikes and there is no disaster plan in place to fall back on as chaos reigns?
What happens if you are called upon to be a companion and support to survivors seized by overwhelming loss amid complete chaos, massive deaths, destruction and unimaginable grief and despair?
And what happens to your psyche, and spirit? How do you ultimately make sense of this to find your own inner peace, acceptance and trust in life?
My guest this week on KOWS, Wise Woman Storytime,is social psychologist and author ofWho by Water: Reflections of a Tsunami Psybhologist (and other books), Ronna Kabatznick. Listen to this most difficult and tragic story. Learn how through Ronna’s deeply held Jewish and Buddhist beliefs and practices, she was able to give selfless compassion and support to those in need and how she continues to emerge as a different woman with a renewed appreciation for living, a deep respect for the fragility of life and an appreciation and acceptance of the absolute impermanence of life.
If you were terminally ill, living with unbearable pain and suffering greatly, would you want the peace of mind of knowing that you could obtain a prescription to take your own life and die at the time and place of your own choosing?
It seems that most Californians would……A recent bipartisan poll showed that 69% of California voters, including 70% of Latinos and 60 % of Catholics support Death with Dignity, California’s End of Life Options Act/SB 128. Currently this bill is stalled in our state’s Assembly allowing the Health Committee members more time for consideration and review.
Currently Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and one county in New Mexico allow terminally ill patients to request medication from their physician to end their lives humanely. The drugs are prescribed by a doctor and administered voluntarily by the patient when and IF they choose to. Interestingly, over half of the patients who request the drugs, never use them. The peace of mind inherent in just having the medical aid in dying, gives the patient the comfort to get through one more day and is actually a deterrent to ending one’s life.
Death with Dignity, is the topic of conversation on Wise Woman Storytime this week. David Ross tells his personal story of living with a stage 4 diagnosis of throat cancer. Should the disease return he has been told that there are no more curative options available to him. Also joining the conversation is Carole van Alestyn, a hospice nurse, the former California Director for End of Life Consultations and currently a Compassion and Choices volunteer and speaker, who advocates for the civil rights of patients to choose death with dignity.
This show helps to unravel what Death with Dignity is and is not; and gives important information about the requirements, guidelines and mandated regulations that are built into these laws.
Death and dying are a part of life not often talked about, but needs to be discussed, thought about and planned for. So whether you’re young or old, healthy or ill, listen to this important show. It may very well change the way you think, make decisions, and plan for your life and death.
The big question was; Other than simply cancel my radio show, Wise Woman Storytime, what should I do when my guest cancels and there is not enough time to find a replacement?
Well, fortunately for me, when this happened in June, I had been giving some thought to a different kind of show and now was my golden opportunity to bring this idea into reality.
But first, let me give you a little background……
In the very beginning – when I first started producing Wise Woman Storytime, I didn’t give much thought to the music that I played during the segways and breaks. But after a while, it dawned on me that each show would be much more interesting if the music reflected the story being told. So I started researching songs and all kinds of music that mirrored the story that my guest was telling. What I began to unearth was a treasure trove of history about music and I was introduced to new artists and genres that I had not experienced before.
And I really liked the continuity that this brought to Wise Woman Storytime.
I’d been thinking for awhile that I’d like to dedicate a show to the music I’ve played and when my guest became ill , I said, “OKAY……..now’s the time for Music from Wise Woman Storytime.”
So today, you’re going to hear some of the music I’ve played snippets of these past 10 months. It’s an eclectic sampling ranging from classical, to old standards, to contemporary and maybe even some rap. I hope you enjoy the variety and some of the background info I’ve discovered.
Chronic and repetitive dog barking unnerves me. It always has and it probably always will………It’s the kind of sound that no matter what, I can’t tune out, block out, or just plain ignore. Earplugs, double paned windows and noise reducing machines never work. It’s like the sound permeates my being and enters into my body, mind and spirit……..Bombarded by repetitive and chronic barking, I lose my ability to focus, become agitated, get angry and my guts feel tight and all knotted up. I’m sure that my blood pressure is affected along with a rapid heartbeat. And then there’s the accompanied sense of impotency, because I have no control over whether the neighbor will or will not take responsibility and control his or hers animal’s behavior. Leaving home doesn’t really help as I find that I carry the anguish with me and returning home I worry that the barking will start again if it isn’t already. It’s really a vicious cycle.
So, when I read that the World Health Organization has identified noise as a debilitating toxin with the potential to devastate health, I felt understood and my reaction to the noise intrusion was validated, acknowledged and legitimized.
The problem of nuisance barking dogs was the topic of this week’s KOWS 107.3FM’s Wise Woman Storytime. I actually became acquainted with my guest Alexia Lacey when a friend directed me to the survey she was conducting on a local internet bulletin board. Alex was gathering information and opinions from our west Sonoma County community on issues related to barking dogs.
Having just bought and moved into her first home – her sanctuary and lifelong dream come true -Alex had a rude awakening. Exhausted and exhilarated, her first night”s sleep was interrupted by her neighbor’s barking dog which was not an anomaly, but as she would soon find out, was a regular pattern -day and night. The dream of living peacefully and quietly in her new home was to become her worst nightmare. When the neighbor not only refused to work with Alex for an amicable solution to the problem and instead became hostile and belligerent, Alex turned to the Sonoma County Animal Control for help.
That is when Alex came face to face with a legal system that fails to protect innocent victims from irresponsible pet owners. She discovered a confusing definition of nuisance barking and a noise law that was vague and ineffectually phrased. She learned that the law favored the perpetrator and placed undue burden on the victim. Citations and legal consequences were highly unlikely because the complaints were difficult to prove and unenforceable by an understaffed Animal Control Agency.
Alex uncovered one of the dirty little secrets of Sonoma County – an epidemic of nuisance barking complaints and no laws to effectively manage and control the problem.
For the past 3 years, under the constant duress of the ever present noise intrusion, Alex Lacey has worked tirelessly to bring peace to her home and to the lives of others whose lives are impacted by thoughtless, inconsiderate and yes, inhumane pet owners. Her personal commitment to fix our broken Animal Control system has included; extensive research on effective county and municipal policies that have shown high rates of success in eradicating the problem when complaints are filed; the creation, compilation of data and summary of a survey of west Sonoma County residents that was submitted to Animal Control; and a detailed document of the issues residents of the county face, a clear and concise definition of nuisance barking and recommendations on the implementation of procedures, policies and laws that hold pet owners accountable.
My goal in creating Wise Woman Storytime is to put the spotlight on older women; to give them a platform to share their stories; and to highlight what a better world it is because of who they are and the difference they make. Alexia Lacey is one such woman and in the next 12 months of so I plan to have her back on the show to tell us how well the new nuisance barking policies are working in Sonoma County. Thanks to her.
By the way, check out this great website called Barking Dogs. It’s an excellent resource for those who want more information, resources and help.
Today, there are about 80,000 chemicals that are used in our homes and cars, washing machines and dryers, and rubbed into our bodes and hair. Petrochemicals are not only found in gasoline, diesel fuel, heating old and jet fuel, but in every form of plastic (except bioplastic), synthetic fibers (polyester, nylon, and acrylics), canned foods, pain medicines, make-up, dyes and paints……to name a few.
It is estimated that 74 million Americans have some form of chemical sensitivity. This could be as simple as an occasional headache from the odor of a perfume or new carpet. But for 10 million people – 3.2% of the US population – it is a much more serious and chronic condition that it requires a major change of lifestyle because they can no longer live in a normal manner anymore.
Most of us go about our lives not worrying about what the person sitting next to us on the bus might have washed or dried her clothes with or what scented products she might have bathed with that morning. Instead of a short 5 minute bus ride, we might be walking instead. We don’t go to work concerned about sitting in a room with men and women who might have splashed themselves with perfume or cologne or washed their hair with scented products, and be worried that we might get that “brain fog” again and not be able to concentrate or do our job to the best of our capabilities – or not at all. We don’t think that walking down the detergent aisle in our favorite grocery store might trigger a migraine or sinus infection. We don’t worry about the cleaning products our dream hotel uses because if they’re not free and clear of scents, we might have to sleep on the beach or head on home. And what happens when the house or apartment you live in becomes toxic and you start reacting to the formaldehyde in the building materials and have to move? Where do you go that is safe?
And when we go to the doctor to talk about the sore throat, fatigue, headaches, muscle and joint pains we’re getting and the doctor tells us she has no idea what’s wrong with you or maybe worse, tells you that it’s all in your head and says, ”Here’s a prescription for anti-depressants,” and while you’re at it, “Go see a shrink.” What do you do?
My guest this week on KOWS, 107.3FM’s, Wise Woman Storytime is Lena Rothman who lived a normal life until the mid 1970’s when she started developing a series of symptoms that seemed unrelated and confusing to her. Her throat closed and she was rushed to the hospital after she got a shot of penicillin. She broke out in rashes after swimming in a chlorinated pool, She began to react to the pollen in the air and had to have someone record a class she was enrolled in because she couldn’t remain in the classroom with the new carpeting. When it became increasingly difficult to treat her acupuncture patients who used scented soaps, hair products and body lotions, her career suffered and her income was dramatically reduced.
Finding it increasingly difficult to live in a scented world, Lena retreated to a very rural community where she lived an isolated life and lifestyle for 7 years. It was here she studied and researched her illness and explored avenues that would give her a path to a more normal, albeit cautious and hyper-vigilant life; a life where daily normal activities involve planning safety routes, escapes and alternatives in the event of an exposure.
Today she is living in the city of Tuscon.
Known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Environmental Illness or Chemical Injury this is not a patient friendly illness. Doctors are often uninformed and baffled by the complex and myriad of symptoms. Many doctors just don’t believe in MCS and believe the disease is in their patients heads. Very few allopathically trained doctors know how to test for the actual physical effects of human chemical reactions.
MCS is often described as the ultimate 20th/21st century disease. We live in a world where one 42 gallon barrel of gasoline creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline while the rest – 22.6 gallons -goes into everything from detergents, body products, toothpastes rubbing alcohol, etc. etc. etc. Isn’t it time we rethink “Living better through chemistry,” and listen to the messages of people – young and old, black, white, Latino, Asian – who are getting sick from the chemicals in the environment? Aren’t they the present day canaries in the coal mine? Hadn’t we better heed the lessons that maybe living better without chemicals might be healthier for all?
As always, click on the link below to listen to the show.
For more information, see the list of resources Lena has recommended.
I created Wise Woman Storytime on KOWS 107.3FM as a platform to showcase older women who through their passions, life experiences, lessons learned, attitudes and actions, make the world just that much better for themselves and for the rest of us.
My goal has been to shine the spotlight on these elderwomen for all to see; to offer their stories as a testimony to what is possible when one has a dream or passion, when one has overcome challenges and when one’s beliefs are so strongly held, that life must be lived accordingly.
I offer these stories to be sources of inspiration and introspection; to open up connections between the generations; and to restore the rightful place of reverence and respect to our elder mothers. Through these stories, I strive to inform, share history and build a better tomorrow.
The child of Holocaust survivors, Charlene Stern grew up and continues to be a student of her parents’ lives. Throughout her life, she has searched for answers to the often unspoken stories of her mother and father’s earlier years.
Ben Stern, her father, survived the Molgenicia and Warsaw Ghettos, 2 death marches, and 9 concentration camps, In the 1970‘s in his adopted city of Skokie, Illinois, 30 years after his liberation, Ben took a stand against a planned Nazi march in his hometown. When no one would back him up – not the ACLU, nor the city of Skokie or his Jewish community, Ben refused to back down.
Charlene is producing and directing a documentary film called One Ordinary Near Normal Man. Ben Stern, an ordinary, near normal man is the centerpiece. Rather than focus on the horrors and evils of the Holocaust and the betrayal and victimization of those who suffered, Charlene instead is making a film about how courage, compassion kindness, goodness and faith can be forces for creating a more humane and just world.
This is a story about the resiliency of the human spirit. There is a Ben Stern in all of us. What a better world this would be if we could all learn to love, be kind, live with integrity, and to stand up for what we believe in – even when we have to do it alone.
One Ordinary Near Normal Man is a tribute to her father’s tenacity, chutzpah unimaginable will, and commitment to stand up for what is right and good, Targeting (but not limited to) an 18 – 24 year old audience, the film intersects the life of this 93 year old man with the younger generation, offering the lessons of those before to be understood, internalized, and translated into advocacy for peace, harmony and sanity for the future.
It’s impossible for me to wrap my head around the cruelty that humans are capable of. In the past 150 years, tens of millions of men, women and children have lost their lives in genocides and mass atrocities. Millions have been separated from loved ones, tortured, raped, starved, demeaned, and lost everything after being forced from their hones and land. Think of our own Native Americans, the Armenians, the Jews of Europe, and the people of Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur who have been innocent victims of political, racial, and religious hatred. And it doesn’t stop!. Right now, the people of Burma, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria and Syria are threatened and living in terrible peril.
Of my recent guests on KOWS 107.3FM, Wise Woman Storytime, almost half of the elderwomen have been actual survivors of the Holocaust or the children of Holocaust refugees or survivors. As a Jewish woman who grew up in New York, I am fortunate that no one in my immediate family was subjected to these atrocities. Over the years, I have studied world history, seen the movies and read the books, but nothing prepared me for the impact of these first hand accounts.
This was especially true for me when I had the privilege of meeting and reading and then hearing the story of Lillian Judd, a survivor of Auschwitz.
Born in 1923, the young Lilly enjoyed a happy life in a loving family. Life was never very easy in Uzhorod, Czechoslavakia, but the family worked hard, grew much of their food and wore the clothing their mother was skilled at making.
But life changed in 1938 and became progressively more difficult once her home country of Czechoslovakia was handed over to Germany and the Hungarian Army marched into her home town of Uzhorod. Anti-semitism raged, young boys were sent to forced labor camps, many disappeared, women had to make choices between food and warm clothing for their families and all work by Jews had to be done without a work permit. Heaven help the one who was reported to the authorities.
In 1944, the Jews were removed from their homes and forced to live in an old brick factory. The lucky ones got to live in the open stalls. Those less fortunate scrounged for materials to build a shelter for their families. After 6 weeks of little food and water, the Klein family, along with others were marched to the train station and crowded into box cars with no light, food, water or toilets. Four days later they arrived at Auschwitz.
What is amazing about Lillian’s story is how she not only survived one of the world’s most heinous atrocities, but much more so, how she has healed herself and at 91 years of age is still working tirelessly to make sure that she does everything she can to speak about the Holocaust as an opportunity to educate, inform and help stop current and future genocides.
Most of my blog posts about wise Woman Storytime have detailed my challenging journey as the “new kid on the block” programmer and show host for Wise Woman Storytime. Over the past 7 months, I’ve shared with you the trials, tribulations and successes of my new adventure. And while my path to (no such thing as) perfection is never ending, with much more learning (translation screw ups) to be had, I think it’s time for me to share a little bit about this gem of a station I’m now a part of.
KOWS 107.3FM is a LOCAL community radio station serving the heart of west Sonoma County (CA). We are funded by our individual members and local sponsors. who keep us on the air. We broadcast 24/7 from the serene and bucolic town of Occidental and can be streamed online all over the world. There are over 70 dedicated local hosts who volunteer their time and give so much of themselves to bring you a show they really, really care about. So what might you find on KOWS? You will find a rich mixture of all kinds of music…..world, retro, jazz, rock, contemporary, soul, blues, Renaissance and Baroque…….to name a few. You will be privy to great conversations with local politicians, musicians and people in the healing arts. You will get to listen to thoughtful and provocative discussions about growing old, indigenous people, and environmental and political issues. You will have the option to hear stories, learn about astrology and laugh, relax and feel good.
If you’d like to be a part of the herd and help us moove towards our goal of raising $30,000 for a new antennae I invite you to become one of our sponsors or members…….just click on the link……It’s that simple.
Now about today’s show……….
What happens when you’re a 59 year old woman, who has been in the same job for 12 years and suddenly you’re told that you no longer have the relevant skills for the job you thought you were really good at? Add to that, the recent death of your mother, your personal concerns and financial worries about your father’s worsening dementia and a series of unexpected life circumstances that puts you out of your home and literally shakes you to your core.
In Maxine Lachman’s case, all these circumstance led to a deep inquiry into her early childhood scripts about money, an investigation into finance and retirement planning an exploration of what is REALLY important and a search for an understanding of what is enough. How do we know if we have enough and when is enough enough?
It’s November 20, 2014 and I am jazzed about my 5th show, Wise Woman Storytime on KOWS 107.3FM. Finally, I feel like I have mastered – okay – maybe mastered is a bit hyperbolic – but I really feel confident about working the boards, fading the music in and out, and getting the show recorded right from the beginning. (If you are unfamiliar with my previous radio adventures, orchestrating the myriad of electronic levers necessary for each show resulted in my not getting a couple of my shows recorded from the beginning). Today I feel confident that I can manage it all – even the phone system so I can take live calls while on the air.
And so here I am…….feeling confident, prepared and ready to have the best show ever. I have a great guest with a meaningful and important story. I am excited with my musical selections. I researched music that complemented today’s story and I included a brief overview of the historical significance of the people, the orchestra and what makes this music so special.
But, alas, sometimes there are glitches…..you know, mechanical failures that just happen. Cars don’t start, computers get viruses and household appliances stop working. Things break down, errors occur that all the planning in the world just can’t stop from happening. And wouldn’t you know, 36 minutes into the show an error sign appeared in the window of the recording device. The CD player stopped recording. Had I been more skilled, I would have immediately removed the CD and put in a new one instead of pressing the play button, which never did restart the recording Had I been more experienced, I would have backed up the show with one of those online sites that records shows……But I didn’t do this……I just didn’t know.
So it is with a very sad heart that I must tell you that the last 18 minutes of the show was not recorded. And while I cannot recreate the conversation, emotional tenor, poetry and music that aired, I am going to do my very best to fill in the gaps and give you some of the flavor of the story and the woman telling it.
My guest this week is Frieda Ferrick. Through poetry and prose, Frieda tells her story of coming to America and growing up as the youngest daughter of Holocaust survivors. Children of Holocaust survivors live in a world with a contradictory reality. There are unspoken messages and expectations that get passed down; questions needing answers yet knowing instinctively not to ask; horrific secrets to be uncovered, yet not wanting to upset one’s parents; and overprotective children who never want to create more stress and upset to their family.
Frieda describes herself and her sister Chana as “junior detectives piecing together our parents’ history one segment at a time.”
Max and Sophie Lazar suffered the indignities and abuses of the Nazi occupiers. They were rounded up and forced to live with other Jews in the cordoned off and overcrowded quarters in Lodz, Poland for years before being shipped off to concentration camps. Both Max and Sophie lost parents, siblings, cousins and in Max’s case, his first wife and children. They met in Europe after the war and immigrated to the United States in the early 1950’s with their two young children, Frieda and Chana.
Frieda grew up in a close knit group of Polish Jewish Holocaust survivors who became the Lazar’s extended family. Although surrounded by love, the absence of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins left Frieda with a feeling that something was missing from her life. Books and make believe games were a source of sustenance throughout her early years.
At age 16, in the 11th grade, Frieda was encouraged to share her writings and she has been writing ever since. Her book, Stories My Family Could Not Tell is coming out this December. It is a compilation of Holocaust and family of origin poems, philosophical musings and prayers for peace,
Frieda’s story is an important one. It is a story of historical magnitude…..a story of survival amidst one of the world’s most darkest hours. It is a story of courage and resilience and perseverance to go on and to create out of the ashes of destruction and despair. It is a story about people – ordinary people who live extraordinary lives.
To Max and Sophie Lazar who lost so much and created more…….who started new lives in a foreign country learning the language and raising a family:
To Sophie shy and reticent to talk about her past, who stood up and spoke out (check out her interview) when Holocaust deniers were making outrageous claims that the Holocaust never happened:
To Bronislaw Huberman who helped 1,000 Jewish musicians escape from Nazi occupied Europe and brought them to Palestine to perform in his newly created Palestine Symphony Orchestra, now The Israeli Philharmonic..
To Frieda Ferrick, for sharing her deeply personal story of growing up the child of Holocaust survivors, her philosophical musings, her poems for peace and her deep love for her husband, sons and grandsons.
And to all of you who live your lives doing what is right and just…….
I have just completed my fourth radio show on KOWS 107.3FM, THE community radio station for west Sonoma County. I will admit that I am getting better and better with the technology and even more importantly, I’m learning to orchestrate the myriad tasks that need to come together harmoniously for a polished show.
And there is good news to celebrate and some bad news to learn from.
Let me start on the down side. The bad news is that I forgot to push the play button right at the beginning of this show so I didn’t record my introduction. The good news is that I did remember to press play just before my guest started her story. So, trying to save face, I have come up with a couple of solutions to the missing segment. For those so inclined, I have written out the introduction below and you can read it……OR, you can listen to the recorded intro at the END of the show…….OR, you can do both……Your choice.
My guest today is Debby Meagher an extraordinary woman who has made a choice to live her life from her heart and to embrace the world with a joyful, positive approach to living. Debby sees problems not as dead ends but as opportunities for change. She believes fears can be overcome by pushing through and not avoiding them and she has learned not to believe everything she thinks, but rather to listen to the wisdom of her heart as her guide and best friend.
Debby Meagher is one of the most authentic people I have ever met. What she says, she lives. Her actions and lifestyle are mirrors to her words. She says what she believes and lives in accordance with her principles. Debby is an amazing business woman. Twenty-two years ago she opened Coffee Catz, Sebastopol’s local community based coffee house that has regular music, regular inspirational talks, all kinds of festivities, local events, great food (mostly organic) and its’ own roasted coffee. She recently created the Center for More JOY in Klamath Falls, Oregon and coming soon is CONSCIOUS AGING: GLAM CAMMPING.
Did I say that Debby is creative, innovative and makes her dreams a reality?
I hope you enjoy the show and that perhaps some of Debby’s life lessons will either remind you of ones you may have forgotten and/or be of inspiration for you to explore.
Debby was born February 2nd in 1950 in Monterey Park, CA. She grew up in Palos Verdes CA and went to Rolling Hills High School. When she became pregnant in her last year of high school, she dropped out of school and married Marty Meagher. They had two beautiful girls.
Debby attended night school and by the time she was 20 years old she had her high school diploma.
Debby had reached the place in her life of living “the American dream” – the beautiful home where she had always wanted to live, a great husband, two fabulous kids – but she wasn’t happy and couldn’t figure out why. She was divorced by the time she was 27 years old.
And that’s where her journey of self discovery began. The path has been one of many trials and tribulations. It has been a journey of exploration and confrontation; of honesty, introspection and pushing out of her comfort zones including acknowledging at 40 years of age that she had had a drinking problem since she was 18 years old and deciding that this wasn’t how she wanted to continue to live her life. And doing something about it…….
Debby Meagher is the owner of Coffee Catz. She has been in this business for 22 years in Sebastopol, CA. She is the creator of The Center for More JOY in Klamath Falls, Oregon. And coming soon to this area is CONSCIOUS ADVENTURE: GLAM CAMPING.
I’ve known Debby now for about 2 years. She is truly one of the most amazing, thoughtful, and happiest people I have ever met. It is with great pleasure that I introduce Debby Meagher to you to share her personal journey of how she overcame addiction, confronted her unhappiness and created a life of joy for herself and others.